Fulfilling dream #1.
The 2008 MLB Amateur draft would go into the books for the San Francisco Giants as yet another game changer, when they picked future franchise cornerstones Buster Posey in the 1st round and Brandon Crawford in the 4th. Even 2nd round pick Conor Gillaspie had a long tenure in the majors, although far from really successful.
Between these future long term baseball players Roger Kieschnick was just as much as a no-doubt pick, in the 3rd round. But where the others were able to make a name for themselves, Kieschnick would play for just two seasons in the MLB before fading out of professional baseball.
Texas-born Kieschnick grew up in Rockwall, across Dallas, on the other side of Lake Ray Hubbard. From the pictures it looks like a great place to live and it is indeed one of the richest counties in Texas. Logically, little Roger Keith was pretty good at baseball, and his dream was to become a good baseball player.
“I remember when I was a little kid, I used to collect baseball cards and I remember going through a big stack of them and I pull out this one with a USA jersey and a hat. I can’t remember what the player’s name was, I just remember thinking how cool it would be to wear that jersey and hat and have that on the front of your jersey. I knew if I ever had the opportunity to do it, I would absolutely jump at it.” - Roger Kieschnick on his dream to become a pro baseball player, in an interview in 2019 on usabaseballshop.
The left-handed batter plays well in high school and is offered the opportunity to play on a scholarship at Texas Tech University. In his freshman year Kieschnick is already one of the better players on a team that also highlights future major leaguers Josh Tomlin and AJ Ramos.
His 359/.418/.549 batting line catches the eye of the USA Collegiate Team coaches. He gets All American honours and the invitation to try out for the national team.
“There is just something special about being able to have a medal around your neck and looking up and seeing the flag, I don’t think there is a better feeling to have that and feel that and to win something for your country.” - Roger Kieschnick on fulfilling his dream to represent the USA in baseball, in an interview in 2019 on usabaseballshop.
Kieschnick makes the national college team that will win the 2006 world university baseball championship, with a team that includes future stars as Brandon Crawford, David Price, Jake Arrieta, Sean Doolittle and Todd Frazier. It is also, probably, one of the highlights of his baseball career, beside debuting in the MLB.
At that moment, being laureated throughout the country as a freshman, and playing for Team USA, the future is Kieschnick’s. Indeed, he continues to smash and brings his game to another level at Texas Tech, becoming somewhat of a local legend at the university.
As a sophomore he repeats for Team USA and mashes .302/.373/.621 for the Red Raiders. In his junior draft year he adds a huge .305/.407/.632 to that, showing big muscle and knocking in 65 runs and popping 17 homers. He is drafted by the San Francisco Giants in the 3rd round and signs for what seems to be an overslot $525,000 signing bonus.
Fulfilling dream #2.
Roger Kieschnick hits the 2009 Giants’ prospect list on Baseball America as #14. Kieschnick profiles as a power bat with a good corner arm. In his first professional season in 2009 he starts the season at A+, playing for the San Jose Giants. He hits a .296/.345/.532 in the California League. Good, but not stellar for a power bat, but he earns an All Star nod and gets the Rookie of the year award in the California League. Kieschnick makes a leap on the Giants’ prospect list and enters as #7 on it for the 2010 season.
Kieschnick is assigned to AA, but against better competition his production comes to an immediate halt. He is stuck in AA for two years, hitting a meagre .673 and .737 OPS, maybe hindered as well by a back injury that limits him to just 60 games in 2010 and will apparently haunt him for much of his baseball career.
The strikeouts have soared in those two years and the Giants forcibly promote him to the PCL and Fresno for the 2012 season. The lefty outfielder hits well, but is limited to just 55 games when he injures his back again after hitting the wall on a defensive play. While the numbers look good on the outside, the strikeout rate reaches a concerning 27% in AAA. With no real defensive plus and the absence of real power and hit, the question is whether the lefty outfielder can hit at the highest level, maybe as a platoon bat in left field because of the struggles against left-handed pitching.
To make up for the lost at-bats in 2012, Kieschnick hits in the Dominican Winter Leagues in the 2013 off-season, but without much success. He starts the 2013 season in Fresno again, where he hits an uninspiring .836 OPS with a 24% strikeout percentage. In 2013, however, the Giants are on their way to an anonymous season in the MLB. By the end of July they are pretty much out of competition and start to find out whether some players in the majors can be part of the 2014 season.
One of those players with the opportunity to try out is Roger Kieschnick.
He gets his call-up to the majors on July 31, 2013, in a game against the Phillies and musters 2 hits in 5 plate appearances. Just like many other prospects there is early success, but after achieving 3 hits and 2 RBI in a game on August 20 against the Boston Red Sox, he is able to get just 2 more hits in the following 20 games.
It’s now or never in Spring Training 2014 for Kieschnick, but he isn’t able to distinguish himself in a positive way and hits a terrible .172/.294/.172 in 34 plate appearances. On April 4 he is designated for assignment by the Giants.
The Diamondbacks jump in. Maybe they don’t know it yet at that moment, but 2014 is to become a rough season for the Snakes and Kieschnick will eventually become one of the 29 position players that will be used in the majors that season.
The Diamondbacks look for depth and claim Roger Kieschnick of waivers and option him to Reno after moving Patrick Corbin to the 60 day-DL.
Kieschnick gets his first opportunity to shine for the Diamondbacks on April 24, after hitting .281/.343/.531 in Reno. He goes hitless in 7 at bats, 3 of them as a pinch hitter, and is optioned back after just 4 games. The second call-up is on June 16. He gets his first hit for the Diamondbacks, in a game against the Brewers, and the following day hits his first major league homerun.
However, immediately after that the Diamondbacks take the player out of his momentum. He is on the bench for a few days and then returns almost exclusively as a pinch hitter again until he is optioned back to Reno on July 7. He returns one more time to the major leagues, appearing in 6 games from July 31 to August 7, during which he also gets 3 starts. But Kieschnick isn’t able to impress. He hits a .195/.195/.293 with 16 strikeouts and no walks in 41 plate appearances. By the end of the season Kieschnick is designated for assignment and claimed by the Los Angeles Angels.
His career is soon over after that. He spends the entire 2015 season in the AAA team of the Los Angeles Angels and in 2016 tries the Mexican League out without any success.
Fulfilling dream #3.
Kieschnick decides to retire in 2016 and finishes his study at Texas Tech. He fulfils yet another one of his childhood dreams when he takes on a job as a coach. At (Jim?) McLennan Community College in Waco he works with the hitters, outfielders and coaches first base. After two good years there he is offered the job as assistant coach at the University of Texas at San Antonio. He is there for just 1 year and after sitting out the pandemic he becomes head coach of the varsity baseball team of the All Saints Episcopal School where he still works today.
We might not remember him and his career was short-lived, but how many of us can say that we actually fulfilled 3 of our childhood dreams?
Do you remember Roger Kieschnick?
This poll is closed
You might think I am kidding, but: yes, I do.
No, I have no idea.
No, but let me just add that I have fulfilled all of my childhood dreams too.
Edit: I had to change some “Robert” into “Roger”. Ouch!!!